away in a manger with no OBGYN

Well, it’s that time of year again when we all go a little crazy, buying things we don’t need, giving people presents they don’t like, eating food we would never dream of consuming on any other day. All in honour of a baby born over two thousand years ago.

I give you a simple Christmas message from the humble writings of one Peter Goldsworthy, in his amusing novel, Honk If You Are Jesus.

What if something had gone wrong?

Firstly: the patient was primigravid – a first time mother.

Secondly, she was malnourished and would have been infested with the usual Third World zoo of protozoans, worms, and parasites.

And thirdly, she was attended by a carpenter.

What were the odds of transverse arrest? Foetal distress? Haemorrhage? Sepsis?

Of the surrounds, the delivery room would have hardly been quaint or picturesque. It would have been infested with Rattus rattus, the humble black rat, carrier of the pjague. Also cockroaches, lice, hay, dung.

Only two for the four Gospels mention anything about the Virgin Birth at all. Luke, a physician himself, tells us nothing. If something had gone wrong, would a gleaming pair of Kieland forceps have materialised? Plasma expanders and humidicribs descended out of the heavens.

I have never been one for home births myself. What use is frankincense, myhhr and gold? I prefer an O.B.G.Y.N. bearing gifts of ultrasound probes, foetal monitors, and an epidural. Give me a modern labour ward any day.

Merry Christmas.

I promise to stop quoting other people’s work soon. But as Aaron Sorkin, creator of The West Wing, once wrote, “Good writers borrow from other writers. Great writers steal from them outright.”


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